Notes and Editorial Reviews
This CD is recommendable for the two works by Gade, rather than the piano trio by Chopin. While the Chopin Trio (the Polish composer's only large-scale chamber piece for more than two instruments) occasionally betrays its author's unease in balancing piano with two strings, both of the Gade works are technically self-assured and achieve the desired chamber music effect of a conversation among equals. The two outer movements of Gade's F major trio deftly develop their attractive principal ideas in larger time spans while the inner movements (a scherzo and a charming Andantino slow movement) are both less than four minutes long, so the total timing is a compact 25 minutes.
The other Gade work, bearing the Schumannesque title
"Novelletten", comprises five miniatures that effectively add up to a full-scale 20-minute trio. Both works show total mastery of material and means, albeit at no point do they rise to the beguiling fantasy of the best parts of the Chopin, particularly its enchanting Adagio sostenuto slow movement. Part of the fascination of this imaginatively programmed disc arises from this demonstration of how Chopin's sheer inspiration sometimes trumps Gade's technical excellence. But the Gade works are fine enough, and in these excellent performances they make a desirable addition to any collection of Romantic chamber music.
This 2001 recording shows that the Abegg Trio has matched if not eclipsed the finest ensembles of its type. The three members (Ulrich Beetz, violin; Birgit Erichson, cello; and Gerrit Zitterbart, piano) truly breathe and play as one. The Chopin performance is at least equal to the Beaux Arts' Philips release, and the Gade is unmatched. I have a slight reservation regarding the sound, namely that the piano (left channel and center) has a slightly distant, hollow quality in the stereo release (the program also is available in DVD-A surround, TACET D112), while the two strings are parked mainly in the right channel.
-- Joseph Stevenson, ClassicsToday.com
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